Kids Media Matters

What matters to... Kevin O’Connor

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    What matters to...

            KEVIN O'CONNOR, HOST OF THIS OLD HOUSE AND ASK THIS OLD HOUSE ON PBS

Kevin has been nominated for an Emmy and has renovated his own Victorian house, but his greatest challenge and accomplishment is being a father. In the new Kids Media Matters feature, Kevin talks about raising young children in a crowded media world.

What inspired your career choice to get into public television?
For me, it was just good luck. I was working in finance at a bank when PBS came calling. As an avid fan of This Old House it was the first place my wife and I turned to when we started working on our own house. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was on two PBS television shows. You never know where life will take you.

How have you had the opportunity to get involved in kids media/projects in your current role?
We try to make at least one show a season dedicated to projects kids can build with their parents. As a father of three, I know very well how much kids love building and how much they love working with their parents, so the kids episode of Ask This Old House is always fun. I especially like when the kids get to come to our workshop and see that amazing space.

As a father, what do you look out for in entertainment for your child?
I look for something that is entertaining and educational. It has to be entertaining or the kids won’t watch it. It has to be educational or I won’t allow it. PBS is full of great shows, like Curious George, that I know my son loves and are safe for him to watch.

What was your favorite show as a kid?
There was a show called the Big Blue Marble, and it had stories from all over the world. I can remember watching it on Saturday mornings with my brothers and sister and being enthralled by all the stories from far-away, exotic places. It seems like the world is smaller these days, but when I was a kid it seemed so huge.

Any advice to today’s parents of young kids?
Get involved. TV can be educational but it can’t replace a parent’s involvement. Even great TV tends to be passive, and kids were meant to be active, physically and mentally.  Get down on the floor and play with them, challenge them, love them unequivocally.
 


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